For parents, there is a fine line between exposing their young kids to diverse cultures or underrepresented segments of the population and scaring them with the cruel realities of a harsh world.
Camille Hook of Boulder navigates that line with great care, ensuring her kids experience the truth without seeing just how ugly it gets. That includes taking your 9-year-old to Guatemala to build houses and doing awareness-raising on cancer at her kids’ school. She’s found a healthy balance, and in the mean time, she’s teaching her kids the importance of giving back. Hook has focused most of her philanthropy on advocacy for kids, and while that doesn’t directly relate to Boulder County AIDS Project, Hook has continued to donate her time and energy to the local nonprofit since 2002. Hook is one of two volunteers who goes to Costco and shops for the facility’s food pantry. Her kids often come along.
“I really wanted to expose my kids to volunteering,” Hook said, sitting in a Boulder coffee shop. “I wanted something where the kids were doing something but not totally face to face.”
Hook also wanted to find a philanthropic opportunity that wasn’t just about throwing money at a problem and she wanted to volunteer in a way that saves money for the organization: “I prefer to do something that takes time, that’s menial, so it allows the people who work at BCAP to do what they are trained to do, instead of spending their time doing something menial.”
Reaching epidemic proportions in locations worldwide, HIV/AIDS can seem scary. But Hook wanted to face her fears head on.
“I’ve been blessed with a family of five. I’m a stay-at-home mom with a part-time job. My conscious needs something to offset my privilege,” she said.
That’s really how it started, but Hook says she has connected with the folks at BCAP. She now gets satisfaction from helping them as individuals.
“We were sitting around stuffing bags for clients, and we were running low on toilet paper. I knew this one family was going through some medical issues, and I knew they would need extra,” Hook said. “So we ran out and got more toilet paper. You know, at some point, you realize that we are not just stuffing bags—or shopping at Costco. We are doing these things for real people, for human beings, for living breathing people. That’s what it’s
For Hook, that means making a connection with the Costco cashiers, the BCAP employees and the clients. That’s what she savors: It’s the sacrifice and the connections that keep her coming back.
“Volunteering makes you realize how significant and insignificant you are,”